Bahraini Regime Arrests another Top Shiite Cleric
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Bahraini regime, in yet another move to crack down on the opposition, detained the chairman of the Islamic Seminary of Imam Baqir (AS), as security has been beefed up in the Persian Gulf country in recent months.
Bahraini security forces arrested Sheikh Mohammed Jawad al-Shehabi near a checkpoint west of Manama on Thursday evening, according to Bahrain’s Arabic-language Al-Wasat Newspaper.
The forces detained the prominent cleric in Diraz and transferred him to a police department in Budaiya, the report said.
In response to the move by the Al Khalifa regime, a number of top Shiite scholars in Bahrain issued a joint statement, condemning the continued arrests and summonses issued against the clerics.
The development comes after Bahrain witnessed massive rallies in support of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Shiites in the Persian Gulf country.
The Al Khalifa regime announced on June 20 that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim has been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.
The regime later said it would put the senior cleric on trial on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.”
Sheikh Qassim’s planned trial was adjourned until August 14 after the prominent figure did not appear in court on July 27.
Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations.
Amnesty International and many other international rights organizations have frequently censured the Bahraini regime for the rampant human rights abuses against opposition groups and anti-regime protesters.